GANGS of vigilantes are taking it upon themselves to rid Southampton of nuisance bikers.

Frustrated residents have formed groups challenging illegal riders who have been causing mayhem in parks, along roads and in public spaces.

Last week, the Daily Echo told how Hampshire Constabulary had clamped down on bikers, bringign action against 38 riders, while also seizing 13 motorcycles and recovering five stolen bikes and returning them to their owners within the last 12 months.

However, it has now been claimed that annoyed locals have been attempting to confront the cyclists themselves.

Mark Holman, co-founder of Southampton Bike Night, said he had witnessed the vigilantes in action.

And he believes they are putting their lives at risk, with one couple in their 50s recently pelted with stones when they took pictures in Lordswood.

He said: “They are not organised and not running effectively.

“They seem to be chasing a bike but, as has happened before, they pull them up and it turns out they’re just normal people using a bike which isn’t stolen.

“There is a lot of information on who these cyclists are but there is no communication between these groups and the police.

“The police are under enough strain as it is.”

Mr Holman added: “The vigilantes can’t really do anything and are putting themselves at risk.”

Hampshire Constabulary has appealed for information about problems in Redbridge, Millbrook and Lordshill.

Since its last release, the force has brought action against four more individuals.

PC Simon Peacock, from Southampton West Neighbourhood Policing Team, said that since Operation Torque had begun in January 2016, locals had played an important part in bringing those involved to justice.

He added: “We could not do this without help from the local community. The eyes and ears of our communities are invaluable when it comes to reducing anti-social behaviour and we work with several groups who pass on vital information.

“We want to make an even bigger impact this year and we can only do that with public assistance.

“However we do not condone any form of vigilante-style reaction and would urge anyone that has any concerns or information to contact us immediately.

“Hopefully our record so far proves that we are committed to tackling this issue, so please do not take matters into you own hands.”